Was back in Dagenham at the weekend leafleting for Labour candidates in next year’s council elections. Blogged about earlier forays there here and here. Saw Jon Cruddas at the start who thanked me for coming down (so possibly recognised me from previous enounters) but most were young Labour folk from all over London partly spurred into action, now that Nick Griffin has declared that he wishes to be a General Election candidate in the borough, by Facebook groups like this and this one. And talking of FB one of the ward candidates for Labour has been letting slip some interesting views on the monarchy via that forum which at least has generated some healthy debate on- and off-line.
Fact of the day was that in Conservative-stronghold Gidea Park Tory Havering Council spends three times more on pavements than they do in the Labour-voting Rainham Village we were in. General reception was ok, when people were in. Most reaffirmed that they’d be backing Labour, we didn’t come across any (openly) BNP sympathisers and had no shoes thrown at us. As Mandelson has said Labour need to be on the offensive and fight like an opposition these days. I heard it said on Saturday that complacency in Barking and Dagenham as a forever-presumed-to-be Labour citadel contributed to their erosion on the council; they still have a decent majority but there’s been a growth in the BNP since 2006 who are numerous enough to be the official opposition. There’s an enthusiastic team of volunteers working hard to reverse this. Join the Facebook group(s) for more details.
The picture includes Denis the candidate (in blue pulley), Josh from Islington, John the organiser (with board) and me.